MRIs are one of the most powerful diagnostic tools a doctor can use to determine what's going on inside of your body. While MRIs are typically safe, it's important for your doctor and MRI technician to know your entire medical history prior to having one. Here are three important medical conditions your doctor should know about before having an MRI.
Depending on the type of MRI you're having, kidney disease could potentially be a problem. MRIs are performed in two different ways: without injections and with injections. Typically, injections provide a stronger image of your body, which is why doctors use them.
If you have kidney disease, you don't have anything to worry about from an MRI that doesn't include an injection. However, if your doctor mentions an injection, you should bring up your kidney disease. The drug that's given is called gadolinium, which can cause kidney damage in patients who already have kidney disease. It's very important to explain your kidney disease to your doctor if they don't already know you have it.
MRI stands for magnetic resonance imaging, and they use strong magnetic fields in order to take images of your body. If you have any type of metal implants—whether they're something as simple as piercings or as complex as joint replacements—you need to discuss it with your doctor. Unless the metal can be removed, MRIs cannot be performed on people with metal in their bodies. The MRI field would cause a reaction with the metal in your body, and you could be at risk of the metal traveling or worse yet, being pulled out of your body. In this instance, your doctor may instead suggest a CT scan or another type of scan that doesn't employ a magnetic field.
Lastly, if you suffer from claustrophobia, you should bring it up with your doctor and technician. MRIs can take anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, and during that time, you'll have to lie still in what amounts to a tube. This can be a nerve-wracking experience for people with claustrophobia, especially since MRIs tend to be very noisy.
If possible, your doctor may recommend that you go through with the MRI while sedated in order to make you feel more at ease. Anti-anxiety medications may also be prescribed to calm you down. However, if it's simply not possible for you to undergo the MRI, your doctor will work with you to choose a different method that's within your comfort zone.
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